On Sunday, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP announced at a Liberal Democrat conference fringe event organised by the Infrastructure Alliance that a new infrastructure forum would be launched later in the autumn: the National Infrastructure Plan Strategic Engagement Forum, or NIPSEF.  The event was either called 'Avoiding the Infrastructure Crunch: Getting Britain Building' or '... Getting Britain Working', reports vary.

The Infrastructure Alliance is an apparently ad hoc group formed of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and the Construction Products Association (CPA), and supported by training body CITB Construction Skills.  That's quite a flurry of initials, each involving construction or engineering.  NIPSEF will be co-chaired by Danny Alexander and each of the four bodies in rotation, starting with Nelson Ogunshakin, Chief Executive of ACE.  It will be launched at the ICE on 29 October.

As can seen by the bodies involved, NIPSEF will mainly focus on the delivery end of infrastructure projects in the National Infrastructure Plan. Having said that, NIPSEF's aims are not confined to construction:

  • continuous strategic dialogue;
  • monitoring progress against NIP delivery and suggesting any necessary remedial action;
  • ensuring government is aware of industry views on NIP;
  • advising on barriers to the delivery of NIP and on mitigation/removal of these barriers; and
  • disseminating the Government and Forum's work to industry on the NIP.

Perhaps, then, it might be interested in participation by NIPA, the National Infrastructure Planning Assocation, and I understand that an approach may be made.

At the event Danny Alexander also said that there had been over 40 expressions of interest in the 'UK Guarantees' facility being brought forward through the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill.

The alliance is having events at the Labour (2 October) and Conservative (8 October) conferences as well - I wonder if the alliance will pull any more rabbits out of the hat.